Bryson DeChambeau, for those not paying attention to the planet's hottest golfer, is a quirky and hyper-analytical Californian, a sort of Gabe Kapler in a Hogan cap.
The cerebral 24-year-old, shooting for a third straight victory when the 2018 BMW Championship begins Thursday at Aronimink Golf Club, used to be best-known for the irons he carried – all of them 37½-inches long and equally weighted – and for his obsession with science.
DeChambeau unsurprisingly peppered Wednesday's pre-tournament interview with head-scratching talk of biomechanics, preparital reception, parasympathetic responses, theta ratios and more. And that was just what he chose to share. Ninety-percent of his golf theories, he said, are "propietary."
"God knows what he's talking about," Jordan Spieth said of a recent swing discussion with him.
DeChambeau must know what he's talking about. After starting the season at No. 99 in the World Golf Rankings, he's climbed to No. 7. He arrives at Aronimink as a newly minted Ryder Cup member and the winner of the first two FedEx Cup playoff events. And regardless of how he performs in this third leg, he'll be the points-standing leader when the Tour Championship commences in Atlanta on Sept. 20.
As pleased as he is to have "scraped myself from the bottom of the floor all the way to the top of the ceiling," DeChambeau said the wild ride of the last few weeks has wearied and stressed him.
"I'm a little tired. I'm not going to lie," he said in between practice sessions at the par-70 Newtown Square course. "Winning two in a row is a lot more than I thought it would be physically and mentally. … I've used so much brain energy over the past couple weeks."
This Fermi of the fairways doesn't deal with stress the way any of his 69 competitors here might. No vegging out on the couch or beach vacations for him. He gets his brain waves measured.
DeChambeau undergoes occasional EEG (electroencephalograph) testing. It assesses his brain's frequencies to determine how he's dealing with the pressures of life near the top of the PGA Tour. The goal, he said, is to reach "a more parasympathetic response … a more restful state."
"We can measure before the round, after the round, anytime we want," DeChambeau said. "That's going to help maximize my recovery and performance on and off the course."
But as he's discovered, even a scientifically certified restful state can be tested by all the interview requests, the public appearances, and text messages that sudden success has brought him. For that, DeChambeau turns traditional.
"I've put a lot of people around me that kind of protect me and keep me focused on the task at hand," he said, "because ultimately what's most important is getting the golf ball in the hole."
This is DeChambeau's first visit to Aronimink. Though he hasn't yet devised a scientific formula to attack the recently refurbished Donald Ross course, he believes he has an idea.
"It just gives you that feel where you've got to drive it straight and you've got to hit your irons really well," he said. "If you can do that and conquer the greens and the slopes, you're going to be right there at the end of the week.
"There's really not too many hazards. It's not like the Players Championship or other tournaments where you've got water that's lining the whole golf course. You always have that in the back of your mind."